Howdy from Denver. Here are some Friday Questions from the Mile High City.
Michael gets us started:
I always felt "Wings", while not quite at the same level as "Cheers" and "Frasier", was overlooked in terms of critical acclaim. Do you agree and, if so, why do think that was so?
I totally agree. WINGS never got the recognition it deserved. And the truth is it was a damn funny show – funnier than CHEERS and FRASIER on certain occasions. The stories were well-crafted and clever, and the cast was top notch. Yet, it never achieved that sheen that prestigious shows enjoy. Why? Pure speculation on my part but following CHEERS always put it unfairly in its shadow.
WINGS really was discovered once it began running on USA (fifteen times a day). Personally, I think WINGS holds up great is still funnier than most sitcoms on today.
Looking back, we really were in a Golden Age of Comedy if WINGS was considered second tier.
Brian Phillips has another WINGS-related question:
While looking at the first season of "Wings" on Netflix, I noticed that one of the producers was Roz Doyle, which, of course, is the same name of Peri Gilpin's character on "Frasier". I know you have mentioned how other characters in other shows have gotten named. Are there any other stories as to how the characters on "Frasier" were named?
I can’t think of any other significant stories behind the naming of the characters. Since FRASIER was essentially a family show, they really only had to come up with first names for characters. That, by the way, may be the single best reason to do a family comedy.
And yet another WINGS question, this one from VegasGuy.
I was watching Wings (I'm going through them all on NetFlix) and I swear I saw an actor (he was a vacuum salesman) that was in an earlier episode (several years back) from another episode.
This made me think about The Practice where John Laroquette was a great villan character and THEN he showed up in Boston Legal (same universe) as a different character and a series regular.
So here's the question: Why do that? Are there not enough actors out there? I love John Laroquette (Stripes) as much as the next guy but surely someone else could have played the part?
It’s not a matter of a shortage of actors. In this town you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting at least five people who all guested on NCIS. But finding special actors? That’s tough.
And if you should get lucky and find that a guest player really scores through the roof, not only will you want to use him again, you’ll want to hire six bodyguards to make sure nothing ever happens to him.
On MASH, Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Potter, originally was in an early episode as a nutcase General. It’s actually my single favorite episode of MASH, and he’s exceptionally funny in it. If there was an opening for Hot Lips’ sister I would have suggested Harry. He was that good.
Yes, you have a continuity issue if you bring an actor back as another character, but it’s so worth it. And why should you let a special actor get away just because he did a small guest role two seasons ago as patron #3?
From Bill McCloskey:
Ken, since canceling my cable, I've had great fun watching all the Cheers episodes and now the Frasier episodes back to back. One "bit" I'd like to ask about because it is used so often in both Cheers and Frasier, that I wonder if you guys invented it. What I'm talking about is the situation where two characters start calling each other names and it ends with them falling into each others arms. Of course the first time I remember it being used was when Sam and Diane got together for the first time in season one. It then popped up more frequently, most recently between Frasier and the new Station Manager played by Mercedes Ruhl. Any thoughts on this recurring plot device?
Doesn’t Rhett Butler get pissed and sweep Scarlet O’Hara off her feet and take her upstairs? My guess is a few of you readers will be able to cite specific examples (or, more likely, correct mine).
The key is passion. And if the passion is really at a boil, a couple can switch from hate to love in one nano-second.
So as much as I’d love to, I can’t take credit on behalf of CHEERS for that convention. For all I know, it was first employed in ancient Greece by Lucy and Desi Paparopolis.
What's your question? Leave them in the comments section. Thanks. And join me tonight with Rick Rizzs for arena baseball at Coors Field on 710 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners Radio Network, and MLB.COM.